Lenovo, the Chinese smartphone vendor has been hugely successful in the Indian market with their affordable smartphones. The Lenovo K3 Note released a couple of years ago was a major success, which also, apparently is the reason for company's decision to enter Indian smartphone market.
In this brief period of three years, Lenovo has improved a lot as a smartphone brand and they acquired the Chinese startup- Zuk to spin off smartphone business. And, more recently, they acquired Motorola from the hands of Google, which further shows their desire in the smartphone business.
In May 2016, the Zuk Z1 arrived at the country as Lenovo Z1. A couple of months ago, Lenovo unveiled the Zuk Z2 as Z2 Plus in India.
Priced at Rs. 19,999, the Z2 Plus was the cheapest smartphone to offer flagship Snapdragon 820 chipset. It comes in two RAM variants, one with 3GB of RAM and the other one with 4GB of RAM. Lenovo sent us a unit of the 4GB RAM variant and here's how it fared in our two weeks' usage.
Compact Phone that Feels Chunky in Hands!
In terms of design, the Lenovo Z2 Plus gets a 5-inch screen upfront, which feels compact in hands. In this era of big-sized smartphones, we have the Z2 Plus with a smaller display.
Also, Lenovo has chosen to not go for the metal body design, instead, the smartphone comes with glass on both front and back with a plastic rim around the sides.
The power button and volume rockers can be seen on the right side of the smartphone. Above the display, we have the front-facing camera and the primary earpiece.
Below the display, there is a home button, which also dubs as a fingerprint scanner and has several additional functionalities as well, which we will discuss in our software section.
At the bottom, there is a USB Type-C port flanked by a 3.5mm headphone jack and speaker grille on either side.
As said earlier, the phone has glass on both front and back. Due to glass back, the phone feels slippery at times, but thankfully Lenovo is bundling a back case with the retail box itself. All said and done, the phone offers great in-hand feel with its compact form factor.
Bright and Vivid Display
The Lenovo Z2 Plus comes with a 5-inch display with a resolution of 1080*1920 pixels, that further extends to a pixel density of 441 PPI. Having said that, the display is also protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 technology.
In terms of daily usage, we never faced a single issue with the display in terms of viewing angles or brightness levels. But, the display is slightly reflective and you might face some issues under bright sunlight.
Also, do make a note that the display is a fingerprint magnet, which might also affect your viewing angles.
Beast in Terms of Performance
The Lenovo Z2 Plus is the cheapest smartphone in the country to boast of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset under Rs. 20,000 price bracket. Lenovo released two variants of the Z2 Plus in India- one with 3GB of RAM and the other one with 4GB of RAM.
The smartphone has the Adreno 530 GPU to handle the graphics and gaming performance of the phone.
Speaking about the real life usage of the smartphone's performance, we never faced a single issue at all, even with intensive usage, but the smartphone gets a bit warmer while using it on 4G network.
Apart from that, everything was fine. The phone handled every game with ease including the latest Asphalt Xtreme.
Call quality was decent as well and we used the phone with Bharti Airtel 4G network. On the whole, the smartphone is a great performer even with heavy usage as well.
Camera Doesn't Inspire Confidence
The only letdown in the Lenovo Z2 Plus is its camera. The smartphone comes with a 13MP rear-facing camera along with a single tone LED flash. The camera app is decent with all controls displayed on the home screen itself.
The rear camera captures some good images in bright sunlight conditions, however, the same doesn't apply when we look at the images shot in low-light conditions. They look faded away with a lot of noise and the flash doesn't help either.
Up front, the Z2 Plus comes with an 8MP sensor, which also follows the same suite as the rear camera as it captures great images in good light conditions, but fails to impress in low-light shots.
It is worth noticing that the rear camera can also shoot 4K videos, but whenever a 4K video is shot, the phone gets warmer on the rear side, which is a bit of a letdown. On the whole, the camera is acceptable, but we have the Xiaomi Mi 5 sitting above the smartphone with a much better camera.
Lenovo's In-House ZUI Comes With Lot of Tweaks
When Lenovo announced the Zuk Z1 back in August 2015, they were partnered with Cyanogen OS. And, by the time, the smartphone arrived in India, Lenovo and Cyanogen separated with some issues, which resulted in the smartphone stuck at Android 5.1.1 Lollipop itself.
The Lenovo Z2 Plus comes with the company's own ZUI on top of Android Marshmallow. The good thing is, the Z2 Plus comes preloaded with Google Now Launcher in India, which is a good thing. Apart from the app icons, you won't be able to see any of the stock Android wearables in the OS.
The Settings app, notifications panel are completely redesigned. Even the ZUI comes with a control center as well, same as the Apple's iOS. But, we haven't noticed any bugs in the user interface. Initially, the camera crashed a lot, but Lenovo quickly rolled out a software update, which fixed all of them.
One of the major features of the Z2 Plus is the 'U-Touch'. As said earlier, the home button of the smartphone can be configured to perform several operations. Swiping across the home button takes you through your recent apps.
Long press the home button to perform a particular action or to open a specific app. And, the feature works flawlessly without any issues.
Battery Easily Lasts for a Day
The Lenovo Z2 Plus comes with a 3500mAh battery and also has the support for Qualcomm's QuickCharge 3.0. The phone easily lasts for a day with moderate usage even with 4G LTE turned on all the time.
But, we heavy usage such as playing games for more than two hours and using the camera all the time, the battery life gradually decreases. The phone nearly two hours to completely charge from zero to 100 percent.
Verdict: Insane Pricing!
The Lenovo Z2 Plus comes with a price tag of Rs. 19,999 for the 4GB RAM variant and the 3GB RAM variant costs Rs. 17,999. Having said that, the phone ticks all the boxes, but the only letdown is the mediocre camera. We are not saying that the camera is underwhelming, but it doesn't help out in many situations.
That being said, the Z2 Plus is a great smartphone if you're looking for a compact form factor and powerful hardware.